Strolling on the main street after dinner one evening, we happened across a poster for a film called Paper Clips playing at the local movie theater. It was the story of an all-white, all-Christian school in rural Tennessee that had its students collect millions of paper clips as a way of learning about the specific horror that was the Holocaust, and reckoning with the broader poison of racism, anti-Semitism and xenophobia.
Somehow, the students arranged for a German railcar that was used to transport Jews to Auschwitz to be sent to Whitwell, Tennessee so that it could be transformed into a museum housing the collected paper clips, each one representing a departed soul. The sign at the entrance read: “We ask you to pause and reflect on the evil of intolerance and hatred.”
I feel shaken to my core when I think of seeing that film just a few blocks from where a terrorist took the lives of people praying. The evil of intolerance and hatred haunts us still.
Today, I will say Muslim prayers for the Jewish dead, just as the Prophet Muhammad did when he witnessed the funeral of a Jew. I will line up eleven paper clips for the eleven departed souls. More...